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Wed June 12, 2013

Reports: New Orleans Fathers Hold Key To City's Future

Two reports examine the social and economic challenges faced by fathers in New Orleans.

Two reports released today track the importance of fathers not only to their own children, but the community at large. They’re the result of information gathered by the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Researchers find New Orleans has a powerful tool to fight crime that it’s not using to its full potential.

Two reports are being released ahead of Father’s Day this weekend.

Loyola University’s Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy has one, which focuses on economic disparity in New Orleans.

Spokeswoman Petrice Sams-Abiodun says research shows just more than half of all African-American men in New Orleans are unemployed.

“If you look at some of the challenges that we’re having in our city, especially around some of the violence, the crime, the poverty that many of our children live in, a lot of it is rooted in some of the marginalization of African-American men in this city.”     

The New Orleans Fatherhood Consortium report is called “Our Fathers. Our Future.”

Spokesman Gregory Rattler says more than 100 men are being honored Friday for their contributions — as fathers and father figures.

“We don’t have to go far to understand the effects of fatherlessness in homes in our communities," Rattler says. "So we have an opportunity to lift up men who are the exact opposite of what we typically think men are.”  

Gregory Harris is a first-time father at 28. He’s working full time and developing a software app.

“I wasn’t ready at first," Harris says. "And I tell most guys nowadays like, if you do get that unexpected phone call, really sit and think long and hard about any decisions you make, but know that that child — even though you may not be ready for it — may be ready for you.” 

The reports will be distributed to economic and social groups that can help African-American men get a bigger share of the city’s prosperity — so they can pass it on.

This news content made possible with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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